the sixties

The Sixties

Many social changes that were addresses in the
1960s are still the issues being confronted today.
The ‘60s was a decade of social and political
upheaval. Inspite of all the turmoil, there were
some positive results: the civil rights revolution,
John F. Kennedy’s bold vision of a new frontier,
and the breathtaking advances in space, helped
bring about progress and prosperity. However, there
was alot of negative effects: student and anti-war
protest movements, political assassinations, and
ghetto riots excited American people and resulted
in lack of respect for authority and the law.
The decade began under the shadow of the cold
war with the Soviet Union, which was aggravated by
the U-2 incident, the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban
missile crisis. along with the space race with the
USSR. The decade ended under the shadow of the
Vietnam war, which deeply divided Americans and
their allies and damaged the country’s
self-confidence and sense of purpose. Even if you
weren’t alive in the ‘60s, you know what they meant
when they said, “tune in, turn on, drop out.” you
know why the nation celebrates Martin Luther King
Jr.’ birthday. All of the social issues are
reflected in today’s society: the civil rights
movement, the student movement, the sexual
revolution, the environment, and more controversial
of all, Hippies.
The sixties is also known for its rapid birth
rate. Nearly 76 million children were born to this
generation, and for that they are called the “Baby
Boomers.” Suprisingly, even though so many children
were being born, not many parents knew how to raise
them. The parents of the 50s and 60s were so
concerned with the world around them that going to
work was the only image children had of their
fathers. Kids didn’t understand why they worked so
much just to gain more material possessions.
Children of this generation grew up learning just
about how to be free and happy. Most of the time,
when thinking back to the sixties, people remember
hearing about things such as sex, drugs, and
However, what the often tend to overlook is the
large emphasis freedoms had on the era. This does
not just refer to the freedoms already possessed by
every American of the time. This focuses on the
youth’s fight to gain freedom or break away from
the values and ideas left behind by the older
generation. These fights were used to help push for
freedoms from areas such as society’s rules and
values, competition, living for others first, and
the older generation’s beliefs as a whole.
Including the freedom to use drugs. The younger
generation just wanted a chance to express their
own views rather than having to constantly succumb
to the views of the older generation. In order to
find these unique and different qualities in each
other and themselves, the younger generation turned
to drugs. This was another freedom which they were
required to fight for since the older generation
did not support drug use as a source of pleasure
and creativity. This could basically be considered
an out right rejection of the older society’s
values. Drugs were also seen as a freedom from
reality. Then enable the youths to escape to a
different kind of world. Because of the youths’
great desire to achieve a universal sense of peace
and harmony, drugs were sometimes a very important
part of one’s life. Sometimes, they would plan a
day or evening around the use of a major drug so
they could enjoy it to the fullest extent. This
could almost be considered ironic in the sense that
while trying to gain one freedom, the ability to
use drugs, the youths appeared to have lost another
freedom, the ability to live their own lives. It
seems more as if their lives were controlled by the
drugs and the drugs’ effects than by the people
The combination of the defiance, revolution,
and drugs created a major hippie era. Thousands of
hippies would flock to the party capitals of the
world for the high of a life time. Haight Ashberry,
San Francisco, was once considered hippie central
for the world. Here people would just line the
streets with drug use, sex, and wild music. In
1967, came the “Summer of Love.” This period was
not unlike the previous acts of hippies, just more
intense. And to top off the hippie era, one of the
largest concerts in the world took place in
Woodstock, New York. During several days of music,
sex, and drugs were abused heavily, almost to the
point of complete stupor. But even though it may
have seemed like Mayhem, it was one of the greatest
moments of the 60s.
The monumentum of the previous decade’s civil
rights gains led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
carried over into the 1960s.